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  1. Remembering and Consciousness Chris Moulin School of Psychology University of Leeds c.j.a.moulin@leeds.ac.uk

  2. Plan • Historical Perspectives - moving from behaviousrim • What is consciousness? • Consciousness and contributions to memory • Experiential States: Remembering and Knowing

  3. History

  4. Introspectionism • 1879 official starting date of Psych • Wundt’s introspectionism “The subject matter of psychology is the whole manifoldness of qualitative contents presented for our experience.” (1912) His method: “the immediate subjective perception of the processes of consciousness, or introspection” (1908) • Like wine tasting

  5. Functionalism • Wundt’s student, Cattell • liked measuring things (e.g. RT) – the first American Psychologist • Most importantly, James (1842-1910) • William, brother of Henry James • What’s consciousness for? • The start of studying mental operations not contents information consciousness action

  6. Behaviourism • Skinner – get rid of ‘magical ideas’ • Study relationship between environment and mind mind = god • Watson (1878-1958) • Must measure things we can directly observe • Modern equivalent: we will never understand the subjective nature of consciousness (e.g. Searle, 1992) because it isn’t amenable to scientific method information consciousness action stimulus response

  7. Cognitive Psychology • Cognition retains some of the skepticism towards consciousness • But key theories verge on it: • Central executive • Executive function • Implicit vs. Explicit • Metacognition • These areas are where consciousness as awareness and control hide away

  8. Against Behavioursim “If a person leaves her house with an umbrella, we might explain that behaviour by attributing to her a belief that it will rain. However, the behaviour in question cannot be adequately explained merely in terms of that single belief causing the behaviour. She must also want to keep dry. Thus we must at least attribute a desire in addition to the belief to explain her behaviour.” • (Gennaro, Herrmann & Sarapata, 2006, p.374) Subjective experience is a valid interest for psychologists and memory researchers

  9. What is consciousness? • Pinker (1997) • Sentience • Access to Information • Self-Knowledge • Sentience describes subjective experience, phenomenal awareness, feelings • Access to information considers the ability to report your ongoing mental experience or operations. • Self-knowledge considers whether an organism can know itself and its impact on the world. • I cannot only say I feel happy (sentience) and I can see red (access to information), I can also say, ‘Hey, here I am, Chris Moulin, feeling happy and seeing red.’ • Others: binding, giving events unity (Kant, 1781)

  10. Modern views • Dennett: Consciousness Explained

  11. Neuropsychology and Consciousness • Split brain patients: Unity of consciousness • Blindsight patients: Subjective and objective streams of information • Cotard’s delusion and Capgras’ delusion: Fundamental disruption to the feeling of something

  12. Consciousness: Contributions to Memory • Everyday Memory Errors and the Unity of Consciousness • Implicit versus Explicit Memory • Feelings of Knowing • Tip of the Tongue

  13. Experiential States Tulving (1985) • Experiential States mark the difference between Episodic and Semantic Memory • Remembering and Knowing • Autonoetic and noetic consciousness • Others describe this as: Memory can be described as having… • Recollection based component. • Familiarity based component.

  14. Remembering and Knowing • ‘Recollective Experience Paradigm’ F. R. Familiar or ‘know’ judgements. Remember judgements. Little or no surrounding context. Rich, evocative contextual information. Semantic Memory. Episodic memory.

  15. Cognitive Feelings • We have become interested in what we term Cognitive Feelings. • These are feeling states that let us experience the current state of the cognitive system. • There is a conscious state, for example, which lets us experience remembering. • Like many things, neuropsych disorder and daily error are helping us understand these things, e.g. déjà vu

  16. Dickens & Déjà vu. • "At sunset, when I was walking alone, while the horses rested, I arrived upon a little scene, which, by one of those singular mental operations of which we are all conscious, seemed perfectly familiar to me, and which I see distinctly now. There was not much in it. In the blood red light, there was a mournful sheet of water, just stirred by the evening wind; upon its margin a few trees. In the foreground (of a view of Ferrara) was a group of silent peasant girls leaning over the parapet of a little bridge, looking now up at the sky, now down into the water. In the distance a deep dell; the shadow of approaching night on everything. If I had been murdered there in some former life I could not have seemed to remember the place more thoroughly or with more emphatic chilling of the blood; and the real remembrance of it acquired in that minute is so strengthened by the imaginary recollection, that I hardly think I could forget it. " • (Dickens, Pictures from Italy).

  17. The Dreamy States • Sir James Crichton-Browne: ‘sudden invasions of vaguely reminiscent consciousness’ • Moreover, something is or seems, • That touches me with mystic gleams, • Like glimpses of forgotten dreams - • Of something felt, like something here; • Of something done, I know not where; • Such as no language may declare. • Tennyson

  18. William James • “The Varieties of Religious Experience” - Mysticism. • ‘… a kind of insight into which I cannot help ascribing some metaphysical significance.’ • “There are no differences but differences of degree between different degrees of difference and no difference.”

  19. Wilder Penfield • “Interpretive Response or Interpretive Illusion”

  20. Déjà states • Déjà states are states of the malfunction of cognitive feelings. • Déjà vu - having seen before. • Déjà vecu - having lived this moment before. • And there are many others

  21. Two forms of déjà vu. • Déjà vu • ‘already seen’ • an inappropriate feeling of familiarity • Déjà vecu • ‘already lived’ • an inappropriate feeling of recollection

  22. Déjà vécu • A series of cases

  23. Déjà vecu. • An inappropriate sensation of remembering in the absence of objective memory

  24. Déjà vecu anecdotes. • “He does seem to have considerable problems with a sense of déjà vu [or actually vecu], both when reading his scientific journals and when reading the newspapers…..” • Christmas cards. • TV programmes and newspapers. • Arriving at test session. • Walking down the street. • Tape player.

  25. Radio Anecdote. • ‘I suppose you’ve been interviewed by me before…’ • AKP justifies his response by reporting recollective experience-like sensations. • Prediction: False positives are based on ‘remembering’ past events. • This is déjà vecu.

  26. Two Experiments on R & F • Present to-be-remembered word study Rate pleasantness Present yes/no recognition test test Report experiential state - R,F, Guess (Justify response)

  27. Two Experiments on R & F. • Tested AKP & MA and age and education-matched controls. • Experiment 1. • 20 words study and 20 distracters at test. • Experiment 2. • 30 words study and 30 distracters at test. • 15 high and 15 low frequency words.

  28. Experiment 1. • For false positives these patients have sensations similar to those for for hits.

  29. Experiment 2 - I. • Asked for justifications of responses. • Hits - ‘Remember’ • AKP: • Polka: “I remember that this was Polish for female.” • Handkerchief:“I know you showed me this word because I haven’t got one on me, I always forget it.” • Control: • Polka: “It’s a Polish word. I remember making the association with polka dot.”

  30. Experiment 2 - II. • False Positives - ‘Remember’ • AKP: • Plaza: “Because Polish is the same, it means Beach.” • Tin: “I thought, it’s such a short word.” • Beginning: “It’s a long word – I remember the combination of ‘inni’ it sticks in memory. • Bayonet: “I’m certain I saw it, today, yes. But what showing? I remember it.” • Control: • Beginning: “I remember thinking that the beginning is useful”.

  31. Experiment 2 - III. Hits - ‘Familiar’ AKP: Edict: “Just a feeling” Curiosity: “I simply seem to remember. It looks familiar.” Control: Impunity: “I know I’ve seen it, it’s familiar.” Employment: “I think I’ve heard it.”

  32. Experiment 2 - IV. False Positives - ‘Familiar’ AKP: Science: “Just rings a bell, it’s familiar” Impression: “I saw it a moment ago, it’s a little more than a guess.” Control: Preference: “I think, not remember.”

  33. High frequency words. • High freq. words = more likely to make F responses. • e.g. mouse AKP Control

  34. Low Frequency words. • Low freq. words = more likely to make R responses. • e.g. bayonet. AKP Control

  35. New Patients • It is surprising how many cases start with anomolous TV bevahiour: • Mr K (Japan): Repeatedly changed channels constantly, trying to find a program he hadn’t yet seen. • Mrs M (Scotland): Wrote to the BBC to complain about repeats and called the TV repair man. • But also another case taking library tickets back saying they’d read everything in the library.

  36. Novelty • Reports from carers and our own (word frequency) experiments suggest an interesting ‘ironic’ error: Novelty leads to deja vecu. • Mr K. first had constant and pronounced deja vecu in Paris - he’d never been to France before. • Mrs M. won’t watch new TV programmes, but will happily watch old classic films - interestingly, because she says she’s forgotten what happens. • So do striking/novel items attract deja vecu?

  37. Mrs M • New Case: Mrs M (currently being tested) • MCI or early dementia (MMSE = 28) • Rarely watches TV and will not read new books - happy reading books she knows she has already read but has ‘forgotten’ • Starts conversations with strangers, claiming she knows them. When challenged says she’s forgotten where from - similar to AKP. • Intact average IQ and only very slightly impaired recall • Some mild recollective confabulation - Remembering high frequency distracters. • But ‘recognises’ a never presented face and freely confabulates an age, occupation and status of face (good task to use).

  38. Victoria Task RESULTS • ‘BOOK’ Reverse DRM lures: 14% ‘hits’ • ‘YELLOW’ Standard DRM lures: 62% ‘hits’ • ‘RED’ Studied items, Hits: 100% • 14% seems low - but consider how striking these items are, and the likelihood of recognition amongst controls - an impossible error on pilot testing.

  39. 100% Rejection-Rate Lures • Mrs. M. provided the usual reasons for selecting these 100% rejection-rate lures and so showed recollective confabulation in formal testing. • We are now extending the Victoria Task and other 100% rejection-rate tasks to our entire patient group.

  40. Clinical Notes • All present with severe disruption to motivation, or engagement with daily tasks • But not very cognitively impaired • Patients can sometimes use intact memory to counteract strong ‘feelings’

  41. Clinical Notes, cont. • Age 60-90. All capable of living independently - at least at first. • Marginally poor recall but very poor recognition. • 10 ‘clinical’ cases (over 3 years - all at one memory clinic). • 15-20 worldwide correspondence cases (now with their own WWW net). • As common as cases of ‘false fame’ based on familiarity and not recognition.

  42. The feeling of novelty • Could the feeling of novelty, mediated by hippocampal networks, underlie at least in part all these memory feelings?

  43. So what? • Informed care for people with memory disorders. • Understanding of psychotic & neurotic states. • A model of memory dysfunction, beliefs and neuropsychological disorders. • A need for conscious, aware sensations and representations.

  44. Déjà vu and cognitive feelings. • Déjà vu is NOT false recognition. This place feels very familiar. This place feels very familiar. ...But I know I’ve never been here before. QED. I’ve been here before.

  45. Modes of cognition. • These illusory sensations are evidence for cognitive feelings. • These feelings guide behaviour. • And are disturbing when they are inappropriate. • They tell you what ‘mode’ you are in, and relate to goal states

  46. Cognitive Feelings II. • When these sensation-derived goal states go wrong, there are decrements to performance and psychopathy. • False autobiographical beliefs (e.g. schizophrenia). • Apathy (e.g. déjà vecu patients).

  47. A return to introspection? • Cognitive psychology has tended to shy away from subjective reports. • But this is central to human experience. • Investigate using: • Replication. • Sensitivity to known characteristics. • Theory-based approaches (the failing of classical introspection). • Brain states.

  48. Cognitive Feelings There is a conscious state, for example, which lets us experience remembering. There are others: • Tip of the tongue • Feeling of knowing • Familiarity • Aha! Moment • Usually, their presence is subtle: in keeping with processing goals. But when they are not they are strange: • E.g. the déjà states.

  49. Other strange feelings • The ‘butcher on the bus’ phenomenon, • Mandler (1980). Recognizing: The judgement of previous occurrence. Psychological Review, 87, 252-271 • Metamorphopsia - faces don’t ‘feel’ right - e.g. pleasantly distorted • Ebata S, Ogawa M, Tanaka Y, Mizuno Y, Yoshida M. (1991). Apparent reduction in the size of one side of the face associated with a small retrosplenial haemorrhage. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry, 54:68-70. • The ‘butcher on the bus’ phenomenon, • Mandler (1980). Recognizing: The judgement of previous occurrence. Psychological Review, 87, 252-271 • Gopnik, A. (1998). Explanation as orgasm. MINDS AND MACHINES 8 (1): 101-118 • Abstract: I argue that explanation should be thought of as the phenomenological mark of the operation of a particular kind of cognitive system, the theory-formation system. The theory-formation system operates most clearly in children and scientists but is also part of our everyday cognition. The system is devoted to uncovering the underlying causal structure of the world. Since this process often involves active intervention in the world, in the case of systematic experiment in scientists, and play in children, the cognitive system is accompanied by a 'theory drive', a motivational system that impels us to interpret new evidence in terms of existing theories and change our theories in the light of new evidence. What we usually think of as explanation is the phenomenological state that accompanies the satisfaction of this drive. However, the relation between the phenomenology and the cognitive system is contingent, as in similar cases of sexual and visual phenomenology. Distinctive explanatory phenomenology may also help us to identify when the theory-formation system is operating.

  50. Other applications of R & F • Traumatic Memories • OCD • Education: The R to K shift • Aging